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August 22, 2019

Kashmiris asked to defy Modi’s lockdown

Top Story

August 22, 2019

HELD SRINAGAR: Kashmiri leaders in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) have urged people to defy a ban and join a mass march after the Friday prayers this week, the first such call since the Indian government revoked the region’s autonomy, stirring anger in the region and beyond.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that there is no justification for unlawful Indian occupation of Kashmir. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has made telephonic contacts to his counterparts of Sweden and Denmark and briefed them about the deteriorating situation in Indian Held Kashmir.

In IHK, hundreds of political leaders and activists, many of them seeking Kashmir’s secession from India, have been incarcerated and the appeal to the public came through posters that appeared overnight in Srinagar. “Every person, young and old, men and women, should march after Friday prayers,” the Joint Resistance Leadership, which represents all major separatist groups, said on one poster.

Prolonged Kashmir curfew has sparked global outcry as the blockade in the occupied territory enters 18th day.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked Muslim majority Kashmir’s special status under which people from the rest of India could not buy property or compete for government jobs and college places.

Modi’s ruling party had long sought an end to Kashmir’s special status, seeing it as appeasement of minorities and a barrier to its integration with the rest of the country. But critics said the withdrawal of its legal autonomy would cause further alienation and fuel the 30-year revolt in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), in which at least 50,000 people have been killed.

On Wednesday, a gunbattle between security forces and militants erupted in Baramulla in northern Kashmir in which a policeman and a militant were killed, police said. It was the first clash since the new measures were announced.

Crowds have demonstratedfrequently in Srinagar despite a ban on public gatherings and the severe restriction of phone and internet services. One of the posters said the federal government planned to change the demographics of Kashmir by flooding it with outsiders and urged clerics to speak about these fears during their sermons on Friday.

In the Soura part of Srinagar, where protests have flared, some residents said that they would try to join the protests. “We will try, people will try to go,” said one middle-aged man said, who declined to be identified, after reading a poster pasted at a crossroads near the area’s main mosque. “But we don’t know if they will let us,” he said.

In the Zainakadal area of Srinagar’s old quarter, where all shops were shuttered, and few people roamed, residents said they hadn’t heard of the call for protests. “If our leaders call, we will come out,” said a man, who also declined to be identified. “There will be protests, our protests won’t stop.”

While Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday directed the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) international chapters for organising strong protests upon the arrival of Indian PM Narendra Modi in the United States.

The instructions were given during a meeting of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Secretary OIC Dr Abdullah Riar with Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier in the day here. On this occasion, the prime minister said that the fascist Modi government is ready to target innocent Kashmiris by violating all humanitarian norms and international regulations.

The premier said that there was no justification for the unlawful Indian occupation of Kashmir under the lights of UN resolutions. The prime minister expressed his strong resolve to raise the voice for the people of Kashmir as an ambassador on every forum of the world.

The directions were also given by Prime Minister Imran Khan to mobilise community and human rights organisations against Indian barbarism in Indian occupied Kashmir as well as coordinate massive protest against the Indian prime minister coming to New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting.

PTI Central Media Department said the PTI decided to coordinate intense protests and give Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a serious global backlash over unlawful Indian government's takeover of occupied Jammu & Kashmir and oppose the oppression of the people of Kashmir.

There will be intense protests on the occasion of Narendra Modi's arrival in the United States. In this regard, Prime Minister Imran Khan has issued directives to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Organisation for international chapters.

The situation in the aftermath of Prime Minister's recent visit to the United States was also discussed in the meeting. Dr Abdullah Riar gave a detailed briefing to the prime minister on his stay in the United States and organisational activities.

Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan deliberated upon in its meeting here at the Parliament House on the situation arising out of the Indian unlawful and unethical steps to change special status of Indian occupied Kashmir.

The committee, which met here under its Chairman Senator Prof Sajid Mir, adopted a resolution to strongly condemn the recent Indian moves to change the status of Kashmir by revoking Section 370 and 35-A of Indian Constitution. “The act is unconstitutional, illegal and ultra vires and blatant breach of international and several UNSC resolutions on Kashmir dispute. The committee also strongly condemned the state-sponsored terror and violence perpetuated by Indian occupation forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir,” the resolution says.

The resolution demanded that apart from other steps, the matter be moved in the International Court of Justice under the Rome Statute with full evidence to initiate proceedings for the trial of Modi as war criminal.

The committee strongly condemned the genocide, kidnapping and torture of innocent Kashmiri people, imposition of curfew and arrest of Kashmiri leadership in Indian Held Kashmir, which constitutes grave human right violations, repression and high handedness. The committee urged the international community, the UN to take strict cognizance of all these unlawful acts on the part of India and stop human right violations in IHK.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has urged Denmark and Sweden to play their role and impress upon India to lift the curfew and ameliorate the hardships and suffering of the people in Indian Held Jammu and Kashmir.

In a telephonic conversation on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Denmark Foreign Minister Jeppe Sebastian Kofod discussed the current situation in Occupied Kashmir.

The foreign minister briefed his Danish counterpart on India's illegal and unilateral actions to change the disputed status of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and its demographic structure. He apprised the Danish foreign minister of the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation, including severe shortages of basic necessities of life such as food and medicines, and complete communications blackout.

The Danish foreign minister said Denmark is following the situation with grave concern. He said Denmark fully supported the statements of the UN Secretary General and the EU High Representative on the issue of Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide Wednesday to discuss the illegal actions by India in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The foreign minister briefed his Norwegian counterpart on the unilateral steps taken by the Indian government in order to consolidate its illegal occupation of the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Foreign Minister Qureshi apprised the Norwegian Foreign Minister of the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Kashmir, including severe shortages of basic necessities of life such as food and medicines.

Foreign Minister Soreide stated that Norway was concerned about situation in held Kashmir and added that they would urge both India and Pakistan to de-escalate the situation and ease tensions. She underscored that it was important for both the countries to engage in dialogue to find a durable solution to the issue.

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